1. As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul thirsts for You, O God.
2. My soul thirst for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God?
The word pants in Hebrew means "to have a keen, consuming desire for". The psalmist here has a overwhelming passion, like an unquenchable thirst, for God. Not for people, fame or possessions, but for the living God. His very soul thirsts for God.
"the living God", not some piece of wood or a rock, carved by the hand of man. This is a real living God, that can not be bound, bought or limited by man's petty smallness. A God with no ulterior motives, who is eternal, pure and unshakable. A God beyond our human comprehension.
Then he asks, "When shall I come and appear before God?", it is a longing to be in God's very presence and amongst God's people. A desire for a deep personal awareness of God is expressed here. Do I have that same desire? That deep unquenchable thirst for God, to be in God's very presence?